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The Beginners Guide To Market on Twitter In A Genuine Way

Feb 7, 2012 6 min readGuides & Courses

The following post is a guestpost from Alicia Cowan, a great Social Media thinker and blogger. More about her at the bottom of the post.

You’ve probably heard or even learnt that it’s not very effective to hard sell on Twitter. Constantly pitching your own products and services will get you nowhere.

So the only thing hard selling will get you is unfollowed, blocked or labelled a spammer. Ouch!

That’s all true – but we’re not using Twitter just for fun! We’re there to promote our business too.

So, how are we supposed to convert followers into buyers if selling doesn’t cut it? Other people seem to do ok – what’s the deal?

This has got to be the biggest issue facing small business Twitter users on a daily basis.

Many of my clients complain that they don’t know what to write when faced with the blank ‘What’s Happening?’ box. Stumped. Unsure of just how to get people interested in their stuff.

Equally, we haven’t got time to play around – our marketing activities need to pay! So let’s look at how to market on Twitter in a genuine way that gets the results we’re looking for.

First off, let’s change from ‘selling’ to ‘informing’

The word ‘sell’ can feel uncomfortable I found. It makes us squirm and shift in our seats. None of us want to come across as greasy or pushy.

It’s not surprising we feel this way. Not many of us came in to business as natural sales people. Neither did we know it would be such a huge part of our business. But that’s exactly what we have to do.

Without customers we have no business!

How about we put it another way? Yes, our objective it to sell our product or service but what if we inform people about our great stuff and simply invite them to get more information?

Think about it. You’ve got great products, services and expertise to share. You know what you have can help. People on Twitter are looking for a solution to their current problem or issue. You could be the perfect match!

Here is an example from KISSmetrics, who knows this technique perfectly, they always aim to inform first:

Reframing your thinking in this way helps take the negative pressure off. So you’re not ‘selling’ but:

  • informing about your new product and how it can solve your customers’ problem
  • informing about your latest e-book and how it benefits prospects
  • informing about your services and how they help your clients

That feels more comfortable, right?

More than on any other social network people use Twitter to meet others, learn, and share information. What makes Twitter so unique is that we can tweet with anyone – no invitation to connect is necessary. There are no gate-keepers, and everyone is up for a chat. We are open to hearing about your stuff.

In fact, if we’ve taken the action to follow you on Twitter, we want to hear what you have to say!

Remember though, that successful tweeters are those having conversations and building relationships – that is where the Twitter gold is. You don’t do that by just tweeting about your stuff. More on that later…

OK, so now we’ve reframed our thinking, how do you tweet without the sleaze?

  • You want the reader to feel an emotion when they see your tweet. Enough emotion to move them to action. Curiosity, interest, excitement and fear all do that.

The action is to click on the accompanying link to read more. Which brings me to my next point…

  • When you’re sending tweets about your cool stuff, always include a link where people can find out more information. That can be a link to your website, blog, sales page, newsletter sign up or product page.

Many people forget to do this but it’s massively important. You have to make it super easy for people to take action.

  • Focussing on benefits works too. Think like your prospects and customers think. They want to know what’s in it for them. How will clicking on this link benefit me? Take this example:

“I’m holding a Twitter workshop. Get your ticket here! [link]”

isn’t as clickable as:

“Do you know the key ingredients for a successful Twitter profile? Find out here: [link]”

Yes, the first message is informative, but the second asks a question all newbies on Twitter want to know. It makes them curious and maybe a little worried. Suppose their Twitter profile doesn’t have those key ingredients? We all want our Twitter profile to be top notch.

(By the way, this was the most popular tweet promoting our sell-out workshop last December, and successful Twitter profiles was one of the many topics we covered)

How much is too much?

Earlier on in this post I mentioned that conversations and nurturing relationships is where you’ll find the Twitter gold. And, if you’re not doing that on Twitter you’re not going to get the results you want. Simple.

You don’t want to be known as ‘that guy’ who only promotes his stuff. Instead be that other guy – the generous, informed, helpful, expert, ‘must follow guy’!

To do that you want to be tweeting a mix of messages as well as your own marketing tweets, but how much?

After a while you’ll find the ratio that works for you. A good starting guide is to apply the 80:20 rule:

  • 80% sharing useful tips, other people’s content, retweets, conversations, musings and helping people.

All that good stuff that helps you build your reputation, nurture relationships and increase your followers. Here are three great companies, who are using the 80:20 rule exceptionally well, if you browse through their stream you will get a good idea of how this works:

KISSmetrics: @KISSmetricsHubspot: @HubSpotSocialMediaExaminer: @smexaminer
  • 20% informing people about products, services and blog posts.

As well as being insanely useful, this is the stuff that requires real action from your followers and leads to a conversion: visiting your website, signing up to your e-book, buying your products or services, and reading your blog.

Your 7 step action plan to get your message out there

So before I finish up, I want to leave you with steps you can use to create your non-sleazy messages. Apply these actions and watch your conversions grow!

  • Take a timer and set it for 30 minutes. Turn off all distractions, including Twitter
  • Write or type out as many messages about your product, service, event or newsletter as you can. Think about the benefits and why people would want to hear about your stuff
  • Aim for 10 but I bet you can think of more!
  • Refine until you’re happy with them
  • Schedule your messages in to Buffer using the 80:20 rule above. Once they’re scheduled you don’t have to worry about them!
  • Remember to check your Buffer analytics for message effectiveness. Tweak the timings and focus on your most popular tweets to help create even better results next time
  • Rinse and repeat

About the author

Alicia is a certified social media specialist.  Her idea of fun is supporting clever entrepreneurs to get social media right so they can stop wasting time and start seeing results.

Alicia combines her love of systems and marketing with practical honesty and a big dollop of girl-geekiness. Finding fun, low cost ways online to attract more business opportunities for her clients is what she gets excited about.

Sign up for Alicia’s popular weekly social media tips here, and find her on Twitter at @AbsoluteAlicia

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